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Report 2033: Alpine Journey 2012

By SL Jones from Illinois USA, Fall 2012

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Page 2 of 10: Making the Most of Munich

photo by L J

The Old Augustiner

We'd been in Munich before, a few times. As in 2006, we stayed at the Hotel Acanthus, very near the Sendlinger Tor and not far from the Marienplatz. It's a well located medium priced, medium sized hotel with a pretty good breakfast buffet and some relatively large rooms. The original plan, ages ago, was to be there for one day. We ended up with three days, because of a change in anticipated Audi factory pick up date. That was OK and we were able to adjust our plans because of the unstructured time we'd left. We like Munich, the weather was glorious, and there were beer gardens to enjoy.

We headed right for the old Augustiner beer hall, in the pedestrian zone of old central Munich. We'd been there several times before. It's cavernous and old, a place of faded old world charm. In our minds, it is way better than the tourist packed Hofbrauhaus. It was largely empty and we savored it. Over the course of three days, we walked a lot, using the U Bahn, S Bahn and a tram. Munich has wonderful public transportation, clean public washrooms and lots of green space. This makes it user friendly. The city was packed with people. Some tourists, but mostly locals enjoying the great weather on the weekend. Munich struck me as very lively and more elegant than I had remembered. Clearly, it is booming. By the way, the Munich Airport is so pleasant ... for an airport. It has a huge open air space with an acceptable fake beer garden to help pass the time. You can't have too many beer gardens, can you?

We took a tram to Nymphenburg Castle and enjoy the nice grounds, and on our way back, indulged in the classic Augustiner beer garden near the main train station. We walked to the English Garden and back. It's a Central Park kind of city park, with an enormous beer garden and lots of space. A river flows through it, and I photographed surfers riding a "standing wave that is produced by the water pumping mechanism." We ate at the Spatenhaus by the opera, which was wonderful. The morning we left, Steve returned for the wonderful little breakfast tradition, Weisswurst, fine plump white sausages in a covered crock of hot water, with mustard and rye bread. We also ate at the Rathkeller under the city hall, which was huge, well restored in traditional decor, and had good food - but very touristy. German food is predictable comfort food. Meat and potatoes. But the surprise is the fantastic green salads. Really, they are just wonderful and fresh all over Germany, Austria & Slovenia. The lettuce always seems (and usually is) just picked.

Picking up the car in Ingelstodt was everything he'd hoped for. Audi treats you well, with transportation to the factory (about 45 minutes north of Munich), one free night's lodging at the very comfortable and handy Kempinski Munich Airport, a surprisingly deluxe cafeteria, and individual attention. I felt like I'd visited Disney's "Tomorrow Land" (I know that shows my age). We skipped the factory tour and museum visit, because we had mountains to get to! Steve is delighted with the car, an S4, which will arrive at our dealer in mid November. It was declared quite dreamy to drive in the mountains. He loves the challenge.

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